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BSc (Hons) Geography (with Foundation Year option)
BSc (Hons) Geography (with Foundation Year option)

BSc (Hons) Geography (with Foundation Year option)

  • ID:BU440084
  • Level:3-Year Bachelor's Degree
  • Duration:
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Admission Requirements

Entry Requirements

  • This course requires 104–120 UCAS tariff points including a minimum of 2 A-levels or equivalent. We are happy to consider a combination of qualifications and grades to meet the overall tariff, for example A-levels A*CC, ABC, BBB or BCC, BTECs DDM or DMM. You can use the UCAS calculator to see how your qualifications equate to UCAS tariff points.

  • If you do not meet these requirements, you may want to consider our foundation year, a one-year course that will prepare you for degree-level study.

English Requirements

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with minimum 5.5 in each component, or equivalent. 

Course Information

Taught by an expert-led team of lecturers, academics and guest speakers covering units such as Marine Geography, Earth & Society, Climate & Environmental Change

Fieldwork is carried out in a variety of stimulating environments, including the World Heritage Site Jurassic Coast, the Isle of Wight and the New Forest 

Opportunities for you to learn through fieldwork by joining staff-led research projects overseas

An opportunity to complete field experience abroad. Past themes have included conservation practice in China, and preparation for climate change in farming communities in Nepal

As the course covers both human and physical geography, you can tailor the course to your interests by choosing appropriate units from year two

90% of our final year students agree our staff are good at explaining things and this course received an overall 90% satisfaction rating from our final year students.

Foundation year: We have a foundation year option for UK students who do not meet the entry requirements for the degree course. This additional year of study will give you a grounding in the scientific skills required for this course, building your confidence, knowledge and skills for further study. After successful completion of the foundation year, you will progress to the full degree.

For September 2021 entry: in order to take advantage of new approaches to learning and teaching, as well as developments in industry to benefit our students we regularly review all of our courses. This course is currently going through this process and we will update this page in October 2021 to give you full information about what we will be offering once the review process has concluded.

UCAS Code: F800

With foundation year: F801

More info: Click here

Foundation year

Core units 

  • Academic Study Skills: You will gain the fundamental academic and research skills required for degree level study. The unit will introduce you to a broad grounding in literature searching, literature review, data collection, methodological approach, data analysis and interpretation and ethical practice. It will also support you to begin to develop a critical and analytical approach to your work and identify areas for personal development. 

  • Applied Sciences: You'll gain a basic understanding of some fundamental aspects of science underpinning more specific disciplines, and an appreciation of how various scientific disciplines impact human life. You'll understand the differences between pure and applied science, as well as the roles of different ways applied science can be funded, and implications of these funding mechanisms. 

  • Introduction to Biology: Biology is the study of life and hence knowledge of plant and animal cell biology is fundamental to understanding wider concepts in biology. This unit also introduces key themes in human, environmental and ecological sciences to provide a sound underpinning in knowledge for future studies. 

  • Introduction to Psychology: This unit is designed to prepare you for advanced coursework in psychology. You will complete the unit with a good understanding of the various areas of psychology and how they seek to explain behaviour. 

  • Mathematics in Science: You will build your confidence in mathematics, in order to perform calculations on a range of scientific data from biology, chemistry and psychology and to be able to represent the findings in an appropriate format, including graphs. In order to carry this out it is essential to be able to convert the data between systems of units and to understand how to present very large and very small numbers in standard form. Basic statistical analysis of tabulated data will be carried out to introduce the concept of confidence limits and familiarisation of statistical testing. 

  • Foundation Year Project: You will carry out a research task on scientific topics chosen by the unit leader which you will be able to conduct a scientific investigation on. You will devise your own investigation and produce a literature review as a final scientific report.

Year 1

Core units

  • Geographic Research Skills: This unit provides the necessary skills to conduct independent research in geography. These skills involve finding and evaluating academic literature, formulating scientific arguments and discussion, writing and presenting these ideas as essays, opinions and research papers. You may also collect field or laboratory data and perform simple numeric calculations and present data in graphical formats. To facilitate discussion and questions, much of the unit will be taught in tutorial sessions, which also allows you to get to know the core teaching team for your programme.

  • Physical Geography: Taking an Earth Systems approach we will look at the evolution of our planet’s lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere focusing on the dynamic interactions between different earth system and how these interactions lead to environmental change through a narrative-based lecture series.  Key themes will include the earth’s geological processes; basic principles of our solar system; heat engine atmospheric and oceanographic systems; biogeographical systems and surface processes, focussing on the physics common to all geomorphological processes.

  • Practical Skills in Geography: This unit will give you the necessary practical skills needed for the field or laboratory. The skills learnt through observation and record keeping will help you come to logical inferences about the data collected. You will learn through a series of short courses utilising both field and lecture room settings. This is followed-up by a self-directed exercise where you take what you have learnt and combine all these skills. 

  • Earth and Society: Building an understanding of the way in which key aspects of our physical environment interact and impact the human environment, this unit provides a foundation in elements of Human and Physical Geography on which detailed knowledge can be built on in subsequent years.

  • Human Geography: Providing an overview of the human, social and cultural aspects of geography, you will focus on key theories and fundamental principles of human geography, including economic, political and cultural aspects, often using case studies based on contemporary news stories and local development. You will appreciate the linkages and differences between physical and human geography, looking at settlement geography; cities, towns and villages and the key processes influencing landscapes and communities. Your theoretical knowledge will be enhanced by field trips.  

  • Residential Field Trip: This unit allows you to learn important field skills for your discipline and demonstrate your ability to work effectively as part of a team through experiencing the necessary conditions to conduct field research (both academically and socially). You will have four days of activities related to your discipline, followed by a final project day, where you will work on a team designed project of your choice.

Year 2

Core units

  • Advanced Skills for Geography: This unit builds and refreshes academic skills required for successful independent research in geography. Through small group discussions it will enable you to plan a successful independent research project and write a research proposal. It will also equip you with necessary survey, experimental design and data analysis techniques for completing the research project independently.  

  • Geographic Information Systems: Developing your expertise and knowledge in the area of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geo-spatial science, we will provide you with an understanding of the principles underpinning spatial information science and its associated technology as well as its use in the real world to answer a wide variety of questions.  You will manipulate and interrogate spatial data of various kinds whilst developing expertise in GIS and modelling. Emphasis is placed on data capture, analysis and the application of spatial information science for geographic and environmental decision making.

  • Marine Geography: The geography of the marine environment will be covered in this unit through consideration of the key resources found in marine and coastal environments and their management frameworks, including key factors affecting marine and coastal biodiversity and aspects relevant to biogeography, characterisation of the physical environment and associated dynamic processes, environmental change and implications to the sustainable management of renewable and non-renewable resources.  An important element of this unit is the collection and interpretation of marine and coastal data. 

Option units

  • International Field Trip: Information on each trip will be provided during option selection sessions in the previous year or semester. Each trip will have a key theme or themes (e.g. ecotourism in Costa Rica, considering biodiversity outcomes but also economic and soical outcomes for local communities). Much of the work will involve field-based lectures, discussions and also local speakers, but the bulk of activities will involve work on individual projects focussed on specific tasks within these broad concepts. Tutorial sessions will be available daily when on field work with the unit tutors. Please note that you may incur additional costs not covered by your tuition fee if you choose to participate in the International Field Trip.  

  • Urban Social Geography: This unit aims to provide students with an understanding of the different ways in which geography plays an important role in contextualizing contemporary urban problems. Various past and current urban theories will be considered in this unit, focusing on the topics of (i) the socio-political construction of urban structures such as cities and neighbourhoods, (ii) power and conflicts in urban space from a historical and contemporary perspective, and (iii) the interpretation of the spatial structure and functioning of urban environments.

  • Quaternary Environments: The aim of this unit is to enable understanding of the principles and practice of palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and how palaeoecological and Quaternary data can inform our understanding of the climate and environmental change during the Quaternary. We will also look at the changes that are believed to have taken place during the last 2.6 million years of the Quaternary. Data covered will include different biological and physical proxies such as pollen, molluscs, insects, mammals and sediments as well as more modern methods including ancient DNA. The applied nature of the discipline will also be covered. Data on past environmental change is beginning to be used to a greater extent as a base-line to understand what the environment was like before the increase in human influence i.e. during the time of hunter-gatherers (during pre-agricultural and pre-industrial times). Palaeoecological data from different proxy organism remains (animals and plants) also provide a longer timescale over which to understand ecological processes that operate beyond the length of a human lifetime or even the time represented by written history. Both climate change and other forms of environmental change such as human changes to the landscape will be covered and case studies from around the world will be included. Case studies will be used to further illustrate the theoretical perspective of the “past as the key to the future”.

Please note that if you choose to participate in the International Field Trip you must also choose one unit from each semester. This will mean you'll have asymmetrical work loadings.

Semester 1 (choose one):

  • Ecosystems: We will enable you to develop an awareness of the importance of a range of ecosystems and develop your understanding of how ecosystems can be managed to conserve them. 

  • Environmental Pollution: On this unit you will learn to understand a range of polluting impacts that human activities have on the environment. It will provide an overview of the causes of environmental pollution, the harm caused to the environment and the strategies used to both reduce and ameliorate negative environmental impacts.

Semester 2 (choose one):

  • Environmental and Societal Challenges: Whilst you consider the relationships between humanity and the environment, you will be introduced to some of the big challenges faced by society today that stem from the impact of humanity on the earth system. By discussions about your place in society and your role in providing solutions to these challenges this unit will further your knowledge of science policy and application. 

  • Applications of Environmental Sciences: You will review a range of applied case studies in which environmental science is an important component.  Topics likely to be covered are: air quality management, waste management and technology, Environmental Impact Assessment, renewable energy technology & policy, flood risk management & sustainable urban drainage systems, building efficiency & carbon management plans, environmental policy & legislation, concepts of sustainability, environmental economics.

  • Understanding Globalisation: This unit explores debates about globalisation within sociology and cognate social science disciplines. In this unit, you will examine globalisation as a contested, often debated concept within sociology and related disciplines. You will explore how far present day global integration and interconnection differs from that of previous historical eras. You will critically investigate global institutions and transnational corporations, and examine a series of global processes and flows of people, ideas, money and commodities in the present day.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Optional placement year

You must undertake at least one five-week placement as part of the course. You can then opt either to do a second five-week placement and graduate after three years, or opt for a 30-week minimum work placement (the four-year version of the course).

The placement year offers a chance to gain experience and make contacts for the future, both home or overseas.

Final year

Core unit

  • Independent Research Project: Your project provides you with an opportunity to gain experience of research in a topic of your choice relevant to your degree and to demonstrate your ability to report that research. Such experience is considered essential for those students interested in pursuing academic and/or professional research at a higher level of responsibility and achievement.

Option units

Semester 1 (choose two):

  • Biological Oceanography: Making use of our fantastic location along the south coast, this unit will give you the opportunity of practical ‘hands on’ study, via field trips to locations such as Poole Bay and Poole Harbour. Through a combination of lectures, group problem-solving sessions and field trips, you will develop knowledge and understanding of the history of biological oceanography, the plankton, the benthos, the overall functioning of the ocean biota, as well as introducing some practical problems in biological oceanography (accumulation of pollutants, ocean acidification, and the possible manipulation of the biological pump). 

  • Cultural Ecology: Humans share their habitats with a multitude of other organisms and have to adapt to a variety of existing or changing circumstances of the natural environment. However, humans themselves change these basic conditions by using techniques, agreements, rules and modes of organisation in order to facilitate long-term settlement their habitat; they form and manipulate their environment as part of adaptation strategies within the framework of their personal interests and collective goals. Adaptations of human populations to their respective habitats thus always embrace cultural strategies and their biological conditions and consequences. By considering an ecosystems approach, this unit will give an overview and discuss of the diversity and correspondence of biocultural solutions, which human populations have developed to co-ordinate these two sides of their life support system.

  • Contemporary Topics in Geography: The aim of this unit is to enable you to use your knowledge and understanding of geography to explore in depth a range of currently important contemporary topics. You will critically evaluate each topic from a range of perspectives and develop i) your skills in evaluating data in the context of contemporary issues ii) your powers of reflection on your own perspective and ability to appreciate and integrate other perspectives.

  • Earth Surface Processes and Landforms: To introduce students to practical geomorphological research using selected case studies thereby developing their ability to design and execute research projects and undertake professional practice within geomorphology.

  • Emergence & Extinction: Giving you an understanding of past and current theories surrounding the nature and effects of environmental change during the last 10 million years, various lines of evidence are considered including geomorphology, palynology, ice cores, fossil flora and fauna and genetics. The unit will include aspects of evolutionary theory and will consider theories relating both the emergence and extinction of species to wider environmental change. Consideration will also be given to differing approaches to understanding broad ecological changes and to competing hypotheses regarding both individual and mass extinctions.

  • Environmental Remote Sensing: The unit develops expertise and knowledge in the area of environmental remote sensing, providing a detailed understanding of the principles of remote sensing as a source of spatial information. You will learn to manipulate and interrogate remotely sensed data of various kinds whilst developing expertise in image analysis and integrated

  • Marine Conservation: This unit aims to enable you to critically evaluate approaches to the conservation and management of marine biodiversity including fisheries and protected areas. You will also examine legal processes and mechanisms that are applied to the conservation of marine and coastal environments. 

  • Wildlife and Ecotourism: This unit covers the range and impact of human activities on the natural environment on a global scale. You will explore the impact of tourism and look at strategies adopted to conserve and protect the natural environment. New forms of tourism have emerged, developed and diversified in both developed and developing countries in recent decades, and you will examine their philosophy and practices of wildlife, nature and ecotourism.

Semester 2 (choose two):

  • Globalisation & Sustainable Development: Exploring the inter-relationships between controversial and contested terms, sustainable development and globalisation, you will develop the knowledge and skills to analyse, interpret and evaluate, the current issues and debates related to both concepts. We will extend conceptual knowledge of how sustainable development might be achieved in a context where globalisation is the predominant development ethos and unsustainable development and social injustice are accepted. The concepts will be examined from a number of disciplinary perspectives to enable you to evaluate the potential for, and limits to, the development of alternative relationships between people and their environments in a rapidly globalising world.

  • Applied Biogeography: Applied biogeography focusses on the analysis and description of geographical patterns and their effects on biological processes. The unit will look at changes in such patterns over time in response to natural and anthropogenic factors, and the relationships between spatial pattern and biological processes that operate at landscape and regional scales. Many of the environmental pressures affecting sites managed for conservation relate to the surrounding patterns of land use, and to a range of processes operating at larger spatial scales. Contemporary environmental management is thus increasingly supported by spatially explicit analyses that take a broad geographical perspective. Successful completion of the unit will enable you to recognise, assess and analyse landscape and regional scale patterns of land use resulting from both natural processes and human activities, and critically evaluate how such patterns influence key processes affecting biodiversity and the provision of environmental services.

  • Climate and Environmental Change: Combining the expertise of our lecturers and special guest lecturers, this unit will provide a scientific background in the causes of climatic change, both natural and anthropogenic, and the trends that characterise and attribute this. With a key focus on examining the environmental, social and economic impacts of climatic change, you will have the opportunity to explore and voice your predictions of future impacts and the inevitability of uncertainty of those predicted futures. Including a local field trip to investigate microclimates, this unit will allow you to critically evaluate the potential for climate change mitigation and adaptation and the role of policy makers in this.

  • Environmental Law and Management: You will need a critical understanding of the body of law that is concerned with threats to environmental quality and ecosystems. Together, we will examine how environmental law seeks to regulate damage to the environment, focusing on particular areas such as climate change, air pollution control, conservation of natural environment, water, waste and environmental management systems. The focus is primarily on the system of environmental laws and regulations in the UK, but will also consider how this has been impacted by European and international environmental law. The broader themes and ideas underpinning the unit will be explored by reference to examples taken from both the UK and other jurisdictions. 

  • Freshwater Resource Management: The aim of the unit is to present theory and practice for issues relating to the conservation and management of freshwater resources. It covers a range of aspects of freshwater resource management including sustainable development, conservation and key issues from a planning policy and decision making perspective. By providing a framework to actively make managerial decisions, the unit enables problems to be identified, analysed and solutions to be proposed including the promotion of sustainable communities and public participation in the planning process and environmental assessment.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

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Career Opportunity

Career Opportunity

This course very much focuses on the practical elements of geography, preparing you for work in a diverse range of jobs and in varied industries when you graduate. As a university, we have a strong graduate employment record and on this degree programme you will have the opportunity to gain practical experience through work placements, as well as what you learn in your lectures.

Our staff have a wealth of research, educational and consultancy experience and will prepare you for the world of work once you graduate.

Ability to settle

Overseas Student Health Cover

OSHC: 624 ($) GBP per year

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